About seven in ten (69 percent) consumers would like companies’ sustainability practices to be more publicly visible.

Bellevue, WA — November 6, 2017: A new report by The Hartman Group, a leading consultancy helping clients achieve demand-driven growth, reveals consumers want more information about a company’s economic, social and environmental practices — and the more the better. While information about practices directly connected to the product or service is most essential, consumers are also interested in broader corporate practices.

According to the report, Sustainability 2017: Connecting Benefits With Values Through Purposeful Consumption, nearly 70 percent of the 1,500 U.S. adult consumers surveyed expressed a desire for more transparency from companies about their sustainability practices.

When it comes to communicating transparency, it is not about the quantity of the information, it’s about the quality of the information. It is also the content of the information and the manner in which it is given. Consumers evaluate a company’s transparency in terms of access to its values, policies and practices, and the openness of communication between a company and its customers.

“Consumers associate transparency with how authentically committed a company is to ethical action,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. “Most consumers, 73 percent of those surveyed in our new report, understand what transparency means when it comes to business practices.”

What companies do consumers consider most transparent? The top ten companies consumers named (unaided) are:

“Transparency is more than enabling a moral evaluation of trustworthiness for brands; it is a way for companies to reveal details about production and sourcing that enable consumers to find higher-quality distinctions otherwise concealed in conventionally marketed branded commodities,” said Demeritt.  

While it's rarely a primary driver of purchase, transparency attributes on a product can potentially settle a competitive draw in otherwise identical products where what is being communicated makes sense. The strongest transparency attribute today made on packaging in terms of relevance to consumers is “how it was made."

About Sustainability 2017 Report

Sustainability 2017 tracks and investigates how consumers understand, prioritize and connect four zones of responsibility (personal, social, environmental and economical), exploring differences between consumer demand for and actual purchasing of sustainable products, and attitudes toward corporate transparency issues. The report updates understandings of their evolving attitudes, behaviors and aspirations regarding sustainability, including category adoption and the ways in which sustainability and transparency concepts manifest in consumer discourse.

About The Hartman Group

The Hartman Group is at the leading edge of demand-side food and beverage strategy. As CEO, Laurie Demeritt drives the vision, strategy, operations and results-oriented culture for the company's associates as The Hartman Group furthers its offerings of tactical thinking, consumer and market intelligence, cultural competency and innovative intellectual capital to a global marketplace.

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